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ProClip car mount for iPad review


Article by: Mike Barrett
Date: 2 Jun 2010

pocketgpsworld.comThe iPad has been out in the USA for some time now, and we are starting to see a lot of accessories hitting the shelves. One of the more interesting ones is the ProClip iPad Holder. This is a system that allows you to have the iPad securely mounted in your car whilst driving. The ProClip system is a 2 part mount: a vehicle specific mounting plate and a device specific holder. The item I am reviewing here is the $49.99 "Apple iPad - Holder with tilt swivel" kindly provided by ProClip USA.

I am currently in Florida on vacation so I cannot permanently mount the iPad in my rental car. I am sure Avis would not be too happy if it was returned with some screw holes in the trim. Despite this restriction I was still able to test the holder as I have a number of suction mounts at my disposal. I used one of these with an adaptor plate to install the iPad on the windscreen.

Read on to find out what I thought of the mount and see how it fitted into the cars that I have been driving over the last couple of weeks:

But let's get back to basics. The iPad is an order of magnitude larger than the iPhone, or your standard SatNav, so before you think of buying one you need to ensure that the iPad can be safely installed in your car without obstructing your view, covering the airbags, or preventing the operation of any important controls. Of course if you are mounting it in the back for your passengers to watch video then this is not a problem, ProClip provide a range of mounting plates to attach to your headrests, but I digress. Installing the holder in the rental car was not a big problem as I had a suction mount that had a long reach and this allowed me to support the holder and iPad on the dash, taking a lot of the strain away from the suction mount.

The ProClip iPad Holder
The ProClip holder is made from black ABS plastic, though white is also available, and has a nice textured surface on the outside, and is smooth on the inside. Taking a detailed look at the holder it has 3 grooved tabs and 2 guides to hold your iPad. Just drop the iPad into the lower 2 tabs and then clip it into the top one. Guaranteed not to fall out, but easily removed. The grooves have appropriate cutouts to allow access to the various iPad controls and sockets, allowing the full functionality of the iPad to be used. You can plug your headphones (or more appropriately car connect) into the iPad, you can also power it through the dock connector. The speaker and microphone ports are also easily accessible and are not blocked.




Click on images for larger view


My iPad holder came with a tilt swivel mount. This allows you to screw it directly onto the car trim for a rock solid mount, this also gives about 15 degrees of adjustment. Alternatively you can use one of a number of different mount adapter options that ProClip offer. I am also using the ProClip Move Clip option here, this allows me to easily transfer the holder to other cars fitted with the same system (like my car at home). The Move Clip also allows you to use the holder with the Desk Stand making it a versatile system.


Click on image for larger view


In use: First Impressions
As I had expected the iPad is a huge device and compromises need to be made to mount it safely and effectively. Mine was mounted in the centre of the car. The compromise was that it was partially covering the air conditioning vents. It was very stable in that position, with 95% or the weight being borne by the dash and 5% (or so) by the suction mount.


Click on images for larger view


Although in the pictures it looks like it is blocking a clear view of the road, it is mounted in such a way that when I am driving it does not obscure any part of the windscreen. It is big though and using it with CoPilot HD I found that the display was really good. No more squinting to see the small text on my iPhone or TomTom.

Driving along the roads here I went down some pretty rough tracks, there was never any fear that the whole lot would come flying off the dash at me. In fact the mount was stable on the car, more so than normal suction mounts. I guess this was the effect of the weight of the iPad resting on the dash.

Mounted midway across the dash it was perfectly positioned for both myself and my wife to see, and my wife to operate as we were moving. The down side was the lack of cooling in the car. Today it was 97F and with 75% of the A/C directed on the iPad my hardware was nice and cool, not so the driver and passenger. I could have arranged it slightly differently, but that would have obscured the view a bit and would have been dangerous. I am sure that I could find a much better installation solution if it was my own car.

Conclusions
The iPad is a big beast and you really need the space to mount it properly. If you have that space then the ProClip mount is great. As with all ProClip/Brodit solutions the product quality is excellent, with a perfect fit for the iPad. This particular holder is not a powered one, but the iPad has such a great battery life it would only be needed for extended trips.

When I get home I will be looking to install this mount in my small car. This is likely to present more of a challenge.

Update
Having arrived home I was able to use the Move Clip to mount the iPad on my dash. Surprisingly even though I have one of the smallest cars around the iPad and mount fit perfectly. No problem with interfering with the air bags, nor obstructing my view. Quite a few of the radio controls are covered but this is not a big issue for me as I tend to use my iPhone for music on the move. The main control that is covered is the ioPlay and the passenger air vent. apart from that I might guess that they made the mount specifically for me…

Well maybe not. I have used it for a couple of short journeys and despite having stiff suspension, and travelling over sleeping policemen and rutted roads from the winter freeze there was very little vibration. What vibration there was was due to the mount point on the dash which has a little give in it.



The item reviewed here is the $49.99 "Apple iPad - Holder with tilt swivel" from ProClip USA.
Comments
Posted by GPSinC3 on Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:12 am Reply with quote

I agree totally with the review I have installed the same system but with vehicle specific mounts in a Volvo C70 and a Jeep Grand Cherokee, on the latter I will also be using Route Buddy Atlas with OS maps for greenlaning as well as Navigon.

I hope Navigon will do a IPAD specific app soon but the Iphone one works well and I went for the European maps which included lots of Eastern Europe as well as Western. And of course Pocket GPS cameralert.

The Proclips are really solid and in both vehicles are around the centre airvents as per the article, don't obscure the screen and are easily read.

Interestingly I first looked on the UK distributor site but my email asking for some clarification still remains unanswered, ordered direct from Proclip USA, excellent service ordered late afternoon GMT on the Frid before Bank Holiday, parcel arrived 9:30 Tues.

Better in landscape but can be easily turned portrait if need. I found however that in portrait and with polarised sunglasses on you can't read the screen !, turn to landscape and its fine.

I have added a 3.5 cable to the car audio in the Volvo so music and navigation at the same time, in the Jeep which is older, I am using an FM transmitter solution.

I think IPAD navigation is perfectly feasible and the big screen makes it much easier, you also have the IPAD available for all the other functions, so can sit in service area and check emails and when you arrive take it out into hotel to watch a video or read an ebook.


 
Posted by bigcol100 on Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:16 am Reply with quote

Are you (or have I missed it) looked at the apps this and the iphone can run, I have just installed the N-Drive (for £5 Surprised ) and thought you might have a view on this and others.
Keep up the good work.
Colin


 
Posted by GPSinC3 on Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:48 pm Reply with quote

I did download NDrive but felt it was missing things, especially the lack of TTS means no roads are announced, the Navigon has very good vocal instructions.

Ndrive seemed to have some issues with rerouting when I went 'wrong', the maps are not up to date, though I think that is down to them using Teleatlas not Navteq, as an example to get to/from my house there is a road which has been blocked off for 4 years, Teleatlas/Ndrive don't know about this, Navigon does, its a nusiance and makes yiou feel a little cheated, what else is inaccurate ?

Ndrive has better detour/block, Navigon only has block.

Navigon has better routing, there is an Optimum as well as shortest and fastest and also a scenic, and separate options to stop motorways, tolls etc. On starting navigation it gives three possible routes with time and distance

Navigon you can add live traffic to for £24 one off payment and it is very good, no traffic in Ndrive.

I changed to Navigon as it felt more like I am used to with Garmin Nuvi but all satnavs are a bit personal, Navigon does cost more but as always you usually get what you pay for.

I am just hoping Navigon will upgrade the version and make it full screen on the IPAD, I think most suupliers will

Hope that helps I also looked, though not dowloaded Co Pilot and the new Destinator 9, too many choices !


 
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